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Triumph Spitfire Electric: The User Interface

Compared to gas cars of a certain age, EVs have a much more streamlined interface. The fundamentals of driving are basically the same (gas pedal, brake pedal, steering wheel), but much of the 'complexity' of managing the drivetrain is now handled by the EV controller instead of the driver, so the interface for driving becomes simpler. But there is also the need to occasionally access more detailed information about the motor and charging system that should be invisible until the driver/user is ready to seek it out.

The wood dashboard is one of the iconic features of these Triumphs, and I want to preserve the spirit of this design element. In streamlining the information and controls available on the dash, there would be an opportunity to make the wooden dash stand out even more. For example, the heater controls, temperature gauge, manual choke, and several other buttons and switches could be eliminated, so to keep the same 3-piece wood dash, I would either have to replace those now empty spaces with unnecessary controls, or find a way to close up those holes. The better option here is to create something new.

I would make this a custom one-piece dashboard and situate the necessary controls in a way that would free up a lot of negative space on the dash. I realized, as a happy coincidence, that the gap in the metal behind the center dash panel is the perfect size for an iPad mini, which could serve as the main information and entertainment center for the car.

A statement wood dashboard deserves a statement wood steering wheel. Also, wooden floor boards. I started out the new dashboard design by cutting a template out of clear plastic so that I could map out the placement of the gauges and controls in a physical space before creating the digital template.

Speedhut gauges would replace the originals, and more uniform and modern push buttons would replace the multiple types of switches, buttons, and levers.


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